Longtime Lone Tree City Manager Jack Hidahl is retiring, and Deputy City Manager Seth Hoffman will take his place on Nov. 1.
Hidahl, 70, Lone Tree’s first and only city manager to date, will stay on staff to help with the transition until late January. He led the city for 18 years.
The 35-year-old Hoffman came on board in 2004, quickly rising through the city’s ranks to his current deputy manager position.
The promotion to city manager “is a great opportunity and something I’ve been working toward,” said Hoffman, who also is the city’s economic development director. “We’re going to work to keep Lone Tree’s quality of life to be the best it is even as the city continues to expand.”
City council members are confident in Hoffman’s ability to take the reins.
“I think his work in economic development has been tremendous, at both a city and regional level,” Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Millet said. “We’re very fortunate to have this young, talented individual who not only has been a part of the city professionally but whose family lives here. He really gets the culture of Lone Tree, and has certainly demonstrated a strong commitment to our community.”
Hoffman and his wife, Sara, are the parents of two boys, ages 2 and 5.
“This is more than just a job to me,” he said. “My kids were born here; they’re Lone Tree natives. This is about the well-being of my family.”
The change comes at a critical time in the city’s history. With the bulk of RidgeGate’s west side approaching build-out, attention is turning toward development of RidgeGate’s much larger east side, now vacant land east of Interstate 25. RidgeGate is a six-square-mile property straddling the interstate that was annexed into Lone Tree in 2000.
Hidahl said the city will be in good hands in his absence.
“It should be reassuring to the community that you’ve got a seasoned veteran (in Hoffman),” he said.
Though Hoffman was a natural choice to succeed Hidahl, his selection was not automatic. The city hired executive recruiting company Peckham and McKenney to advise it in the process. Hoffman underwent a lengthy interview process, plus background and reference checks, before the firm recommended him for the position.
“The city council took this process very seriously,” Mayor Jim Gunning said in a press release announcing the administrative changes. “Council felt Seth was very qualified for the position, but it was valuable to bring in a third party to validate that approach.”
Hidahl, who owns homes in both Lone Tree and Central City — where he worked as city administrator for many years — hasn’t yet planned his retirement.
“I haven’t yet really visualized what that’s going to feel or look like,” he said.
The city is planning a celebration and tribute to Hidahl in January.
“When you look at Jack's career in Lone Tree, it’s clear that there are a very small number of people that have had a bigger impact on the city,” Gunning said. “He really believed in Lone Tree’s potential to become a great city.”
Hoffman’s starting salary is $138,000. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a graduate degree in local government management.